Susan’s Weight Loss Journey: The First 8 Months

My 100 lb. weight loss journey began on May 15, 2017. On that date, I weighed 250 lbs., and my body mass index (BMI) was 42.6.  My measurements were 49″ chest, 46″ waist and 48″ hips. This put me in the “high risk” category for stroke, diabetes and other serious medical conditions.  The picture below was taken on Mother’s Day — the week that I began my weight loss journey.

When I posted news about my journey on Facebook over the summer, many people contacted me by private message to ask what type of diet program that I am doing. The numbers of people who responded to that post were surprising — literally hundreds. It told me that many people are struggling and seeking solutions. This is what made me decide to share more about my journey. I know people are being inspired even though I may never hear from them. That’s a good feeling and makes my journey even that much more worthwhile. This post documents the first 8 months and the first 50 lbs. ~ Susan

Susan at 250 lbs. in May 2017. Chest 49″; waist 46″; hips 48″. Body Mass Index 42.6.

The Plan

Because the diet program I am doing is proprietary, I am not able to give the details. However, I can tell you that it is a high protein, low carb program, and it is working incredibly well. I say “incredibly well” because, for the most part, I am not feeling hungry. Those moments of temptation, that tend to sabotage a diet, have been kept to a minimum.

Because this particular program is intended to target fat without causing a significant loss of muscle mass, I have been able to maintain muscle tone. The result is that I have not been experiencing saggy skin. Plus, I am required to drink 64 oz of water each day, so this is keeping me well hydrated.  My energy level is through the roof.

Free to Choose

For the record, I am not promoting or endorsing any specific type of weight loss plan, products or supplements. However, I don’t believe that you have to subscribe to mail-order or packaged meal plans in order to lose weight — unless you prefer the convenience or are medically required to do so. I am taking protein and vitamin supplements as part of the protocol for this program. I have been free to choose which brands and locate my own sources. Without proper knowledge about how to incorporate these supplements into a weight loss plan, it would be unhealthy and can actually be a hindrance to weight loss. This is why I am not getting into the specifics of the program. Everything else that I am doing involves fresh meat, fish, poultry and produce that I personally prepare. No packaged foods, in other words.

The Initial Detox

The first 3 months were not without any struggles. Those first few weeks were all about detoxing from sugar and processed foods. I felt tired and had a few grumpy moments that were not characteristic for me. The second month seemed to drag by, and I wanted things to go more quickly, so it grew frustrating. I continued to stick with it and saw the frustrations begin to level off. After working through those initial phases, things began to go very smoothly and my body adjusted to my new way of eating. The weight started to come off more steadily.

The photo above was taken in July 2017. I had lost 22 lbs. My chest size went from 49″ to 44″.

My waist from 46″ to 40, and my hips from 48″ to 43″.

Non-Scale Victories

There have been small but significant non-scale victories along the way — victories that have nothing to do with pounds and inches. For instance, chronic joint pain that I had been experiencing in different parts of my body has almost completely disappeared. Psoriasis flare-ups on my elbows have cleared up. Episodes of sleep apnea have stopped completely, and I am sleeping more restfully each night. I can walk a longer distance at a faster pace on the treadmill — nearly double the speed and distance that I was able to do when I started.

My self-esteem has improved immeasurably, and I’ve been able to shop in the “women’s” section of the store instead of the “plus” section. It feels wonderful to be able to have many more fashion options than can usually be found in the plus section of the stores.

Advice for Getting Started

What would be my advice to anyone who would like to start their own weight loss journey? Get your head in the right place and mentally prepare yourself to go the distance. Your inner child is going to scream and kick to get her way. Take her by the hand and firmly, but lovingly, tell her, “No.” The real battle, when it comes to weight loss, is in the mind and thoughts. There are many proven diet programs. The key is to find one that gives you the most control and best matches your lifestyle so that you can set yourself up for success. It is up to you to do your research to find the one that works best for you. Allow yourself the time to research everything you can on health, nutrition and weight loss. Knowing the facts will help you to make the best choices for yourself.

If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, don’t go it alone. Find a nutritionist, doctor or dietician to work with you. The money will be well spent, and you will have a clear path to follow.

Continuing Education

Whichever program you choose, make sure that you are provided with the tools to permanently maintain your weight loss after you have achieved your goal weight. Continue to educate yourself by reading and studying on your own. Remind yourself that your journey is not about a one-time achievement or a race to the finish line. To truly succeed, your focus should be about learning to truly love and properly care for yourself in healthy ways — for the rest of your life. You are so totally worth it!

Loving Myself

While I was taking care of my physical body, I realized it was important not to neglect my spiritual wellness. The two go hand in hand. I have been studying and taking on-line courses  that are helping me to clear out my spiritual and emotional junk. When this journey is over, I don’t just want a clean cup on the outside, so to speak, I would like the emotional junk cleared out to improve my chances of never regaining this weight again.

According to 3 John 1:2, the body prospers when the soul prospers, So this is the most important reason to care for my soul as well as my body. ” Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (New American Standard).

This photo was taken in August 2017.  I had lost 30 lbs.

My measurements were 44″ chest, 38″ waist and 42-1/2″ hips.

Resources

Because of the numbers of people who have reached out to me for advice, I am including some resources that I’ve found to be helpful.

One that proved very helpful was on the topic of identifying and healing soul wounds that are specifically related to food addictions and obesity. It is called SOUL FOOD and taught by Katie Souza of EXPECTED END MINISTRIES. It is  available as a CD set. This teaching helped me to understand the ways a soul can be wounded and how God could restore my soul. Katie has since come out with a new book titled, HEALING THE WOUNDED SOUL: BREAK FREE FROM THE PAIN OF THE PAST AND LIVE AGAIN. I have not yet read it, but it includes many of the same healing principles that are found in her “Soul Food” teaching.

If you have a desire to lose weight and would like to seek out a weight loss coach, I can recommend TERESA SHIELDS PARKER who has written several books about her own weight loss journey. The first book, SWEET GRACE, will provide you with gentle motivation and encouragement through the telling of her own weight loss journey, and she provides a FREE 10-DAY KICK SUGAR PLAN through her website. I found the Kick Sugar Plan to be very helpful because it enabled me to slowly detox from sugar before I began the diet program. This significantly reduced withdrawal symptoms during the initial detox phase.

Myth Busting

I had been under the impression that once you reach menopause, weight loss is more difficult to achieve.  This turned out to be a myth. Even though I am post-menopausal, I am losing weight at the same rate as women who still experience a monthly cycle.

Another myth is that it’s harder to lose weight once you reach a certain age. There are women in their 70s who are taking part in the same program that I am, and they are losing weight at the same rate as everyone else.

The third myth was that I would have to exercise harder to achieve weight loss. While I do believe in keeping my muscles toned and definitely believe in cardio exercise to keep my heart healthy, I am learning that how many hours I work out each week has very little to do with my ability to lose weight. I used to beat myself up at the gym. I thought that all I needed was more exercise to succeed.  The hours of weekly effort yielded nothing but sore muscles.  My muscles were tone, but the fat was still there. I would feel defeated when the scales barely budged. Looking back, I was being so unkind to my body when I did not need to be. My days of doing that are over. Weight loss is an added incentive to go to the gym, and I enjoy doing so simply because physical activity is fun. But, there is no longer any need to physically punish my body in an effort to lose weight.

Self-Commitment

The day that I went for my weight loss orientation meeting was an unexpectedly emotional experience. It caught me by surprise. My health information was assessed to make sure this program would be right for me, medically speaking. I had not yet made the decision to enroll because I was still trying to make up my mind. It would be a  minimum 10 month commitment based on the amount of weight I needed to lose. There was also a monthly contract that I would be locked into for the duration.  I would be putting my money where my mouth is, literally. It was time to firmly decide.

I stepped outside to make a phone call to my husband. This was just as much his commitment as it was mine because of the monthly expense involved. I wanted to make sure he was in agreement. His words to me at that moment made my heart melt. He said, “I don’t care about the cost. I care about you and will be here to support you no matter what you decide. No matter how long it takes. I love you.” I sat out in my truck in the parking lot and wept.

Moment of Decision

It was in that moment that I realized just how much I DID want to lose weight and just how much support was there for me. Not only from my husband and my children but from the weight loss coach as well. Knowing that I not only had the support but now also had the tools brought a wave of emotions that completely washed over me. This is what gave me the final push that I needed to make that final commitment, and it made all the difference. I have not looked back.

The last thing worth mentioning is that if you have a significant amount of weight to lose (50 lbs. or more), please do not proceed without medical supervision. This will ensure that whatever diet program you are choosing will be safe for you, especially when it comes to your heart health.

This photo was taken in November 2017. I had lost 45 lbs.

My measurements were chest 42″, waist 37″ and hips 41″.

Fifty Pounds: The Halfway Mark

It took a little more than six months, but I finally reached the halfway point in my journey to lose 100 lbs. Mid-December found me at 50 lbs. down and 50 lbs. to go. I had hoped to reach my goal by March of 2018, but realistically, it looks like it will happen around May or June, instead. I’m perfectly okay with that.

Weight Loss Stall

Now at six months along, I have to say that the past six weeks have been some of the toughest. It’s not that the diet program stopped working for me, it’s that my thoughts and emotions began to get in the way. It took me a few weeks to realize that I was unconsciously self-sabotaging my progress. I finally had to sit down with myself to search out the reasons why.

It was during a conversation with my weight loss coach that the “why” revealed itself. As I began to approach the halfway point, I started to feel anxious and stressed. This anxiety caused me to reach for food that had not tempted me all the months before. Though I did not gain any weight, I succeeded in stalling my weight loss for several weeks.

Security Blanket

After talking it through, I realized that the extra weight I had been carrying was my protection against the world and allowed me to suppress hurts, wounds and painful emotions. In an emotional sense, I was not yet ready to come out of my shell. I was carrying an enormous amount of self-doubt.

This was such an odd place to find myself. I never thought about the fact that my excess fat had been a security blanket — and that I had come to depend on it so much that I would seek to sabotage myself. I had to take a hard look as to what it was that was making me so reluctant to let go of old habits.

Overcoming Perfectionism

As I continued to look, I discovered that my anxiety was rooted in a fear of failure. I was afraid to succeed at weight loss because I was afraid that I would fail. As ironic as this sounds, I learned that many people hit this same wall somewhere along their journey. It’s called “perfectionism.”

Somewhere deep inside me was a need to get it right — to be perfect — to not fail. So, when I took that first bite of a potato chip — something that is definitely not on my diet program — I saw it as a failure. I had messed up. I wasn’t perfect. There was no putting the potato chip back in the bag… along with the dozens of others that tasted really good when they were being crunched around in my mouth. The guilt that came later, though, was definitely not worth it. It became an emotional hammer that I used to hit myself over the head. “Failure, failure, failure.”

I began to see the thought patterns that had been going through my mind all of these years. If I did not think I could succeed, I would sabotage my own efforts or I would procrastinate. This  is one of the reasons I did not face my obesity problem much sooner in life.

This photo was taken in January 2018 — 8 months into the journey. I’ve lost a total of 53 lbs.

My chest went from 49″ to 39″; waist 46″ to 33″; hips 48″ to 38″.

Perfectly Me

The truth is that I will never be perfect, and that is perfectly okay. That’s why I decided to write about the struggles as well as the victories  — knowing that someone reading this would recognize this about themselves and would be able to relate.

Once I understood what had been taking place, I was able to own it and began pushing past. I have done this by talking about my feelings with my coach and by praying in the ways I have been taught that bring about emotional and spiritual healing.

Personal Revelation

I came to see that God does not require me to be perfect. He wants me and loves me just the way I am. It’s His job to do any perfecting that needs to happen in my life. Being “perfected” has nothing to do with being perfect. It happens as a result of abiding in and experiencing God’s love. His love is always kind, nurturing and compassionate. This kind of love does not beat me down when I have failed. Instead, it picks me back up again. So, if God is not beating me up, why would I?

Now, I am at the place where I am learning how to relate to myself in a whole new way. It goes far beyond losing weight. It is a process of self-rediscovery. I have been obese for most of my adult life. There is a brand new person emerging who is learning a whole new way of seeing herself — and loving herself. I am learning to listen to her and hear what is on her heart. It is an enjoyable process of becoming reacquainted with a newer and improved version of myself. You might say it is a whole new way of living by learning to embrace everything about myself. Especially the imperfections. It truly is okay to be “perfectly” me.

Over the course of the past 8 months, my Body Mass Index went from 42.6 to 35.0.

I’ve gone from 22/24 pants to Size 14 pants, and from a Plus Size 3X top to a Women’s Large.

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About S.R. Williams

S.R. Williams is an artist and writer who lives in a cabin in the northeast Georgia mountains where she is inspired with joy and inspiration by the natural beauty of the surroundings

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